Council abandons climate tax vote

| 26th October 2020 |
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A council tax increase of £1 a week would have funded an annual £3 million Climate Action Now (CAN) project.

Given the on-going impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not proposed to run the referendum in May 2021.

Plans to give ratepayers an historic say on whether to implement a small increase in council tax to pay for a climate change fighting fund have been scrapped because of Covid-19.

In February, Warwick District Council announced plans to hold a yes/no referendum asking residents to raise council tax by an equivalent of £1 a week for an average Band D householder.

The vote was slated for May 7 but was postponed as the pandemic hit.

Measures

Now the council has said there are no plans to hold the referendum next year either, because of on-going uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

The council’s leader Andrew Day said the priority was instead to support businesses and residents through the health crisis.

However, he added the council was committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and a carbon neutral district by 2030.

The increase would have funded an annual £3 million Climate Action Now (CAN) project, with the money ring-fenced solely for measures aimed at tackling climate change.

Critical

The local authority would have been first in the UK to hold a referendum on a rates change specifically for that purpose.

Mr Day said: “The Climate Emergency Council Tax referendum was withdrawn due to the national lockdown in May.

“Given the on-going impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not proposed to run the referendum in May 2021. The priority is to support our residents and businesses through these uncertain times.”

He added: “Our joint working with Stratford District Council will enable us to have a bigger and more effective response to critical matters, such as the climate emergency.”

This Author

Richard Vernalls is reporter with PA. 

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